This year’s iteration of the “SGR fix” has already gone through a few rounds, with the last one including a proposed delay of the Affordable Care Act (ACA)—which was immediately shot down by the Senate.
Now Congress is taking aim at ICD-10, attaching a one-year ICD-10 delay until October 2015 to the latest bill, according to an article today in Medical Economics. The House voted today to pass the bill; next the Senate will vote on the measure.
The current SGR fix will expire on Monday, March 31, and would mean a 24% reduction in Medicare payments to physicians. The reduction has been avoided each year since 2010. Earlier this month the House passed another bill that would have repealed the SGR and replaced it with a formula that would calculate payments based on quality metrics. But since the bill included a five-year delay in the individual mandate in the ACA, it was defeated by the Democratic opposition.
Experts predicted this new bill would pass in the House, and they were correct. The jury is out on what the Senate will do, but it must vote by Monday. Then, of course, the bill goes to the President for signature or veto.
Several medical societies including the AMA and ACP have opposed the transition to ICD-10, citing staggering costs ranging from $56,000 to $226,000 for small practices to implement the new code set.
The American Health Information Management Association responded quickly to the new bill, saying “AHIMA has put out a call to members and other stakeholders to contact their representatives in Congress and ask them to take the ICD-10 provision out of the SGR bill or not approve the bill.”
Recognized ICD-10 expert and technology consultant Steve Sisko said in an article in Healthcare IT News that pushing back the deadline would merely continue “a bad precedent of punishing those who worked in good faith to comply,” and “ICD-10 is so far along we just need to finish it.”
What do you think about this latest development? We’ll update you on the results of the Senate vote as soon as the news is available.